While many federal agencies are undertaking environmental justice-related activities to respond to Executive Order 12898 issued by President Clinton in 1994: “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations,” there is a lack of guidance on how to assess disproportionate human health or environmental effects of agency programs, policies, and actions on minority and low-income populations. Meanwhile, many state governments are now developing their own strategies for identifying disproportionate environmental health impacts and addressing environmental justice concerns.
The purpose of this study is to review the diversity of state-level approaches and methodologies for conducting disproportionate environmental health impact evaluations as part of their environmental justice programs and initiatives. We found state approaches to these assessments, often called “environmental justice analyses” range from simple qualitative evaluations of demographic indicators, such as race and income, to complex quantitative analyses of environmental health hazards such as statistical modeling across populations and geographic regions.
In spite of the progress many states have made to develop methods for disproportionate environmental health impact assessment, several challenges remain such as linking these evaluation approaches to health risks so as to be useful in regulatory decision making, greater quantity and variety of robust data sets at the proper spatial resolution, increased funding to implement programs over the long-term, and collaboration among relevant governmental agencies at all levels. (Mary Ann Liebert)
Devon Payne-Sturges, Amalia Turner, Jessica Wignall, Arlene Rosenbaum, Elizabeth Dederick, and Heather Dantzker
Dr. Payne-Sturges is Assistant Center Director for Human Health at ORD/National Center for Environmental Research in Washington, DC. Ms. Turner is a senior associate at ICF International in Durham, North Carolina. Ms. Wignall is an Environmental Sciences and Engineering MSPH candidate at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Ms. Rosenbaum is a technical director at ICF International in Rohnert Park, California. Dr. Dederick is a manager at ICF International in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. Dr. Dantzker is a manager at ICF International in Fairfax, Virginia.